The kaolin industry continues to see a steady rise around the globe, including in India. As the country experiences a significant development in various lines of industry, the trend and market of kaolin in India also change. It is beneficial to see the recent growth of the kaolin market in this country to project the future prospect.
Recent Market Trends of Kaolin in the Country
In the last decade, India has seen some changes in the kaolin market trend. It is a country with a rapidly growing economy. Because of that, the demand for kaolin has increased in the country. Data shows that from 2016 to 2019, the country had a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3%.
However, due to the global COVID-19 outbreak, there was a significant drop in kaolin demand in India throughout 2020. The drop occurred due to activity restrictions which affected various industries in the country. The export and import activities were also halted during this time.
After the situation had improved, the kaolin industry has also been revived. Recent data shows that the market trend of kaolin in the country has started to go up again. Private sectors remain the most prominent players in kaolin production in India, with some foreign companies taking over a certain portion of reserves.
Industry Uses of Kaolin in India
How do Indian industries use kaolin? Here are some growing industries in India that rely on kaolin:
1. Cement Industry
India is known as a large producer of cement and even provides supply for 7% of global demand. Kaolin is used in cement production, especially in the modern era, because it is more environmentally friendly. It is known to be able to reduce carbon emissions created by the industry.
2. Paint and Coating Industry
The paint and coating industry in India is growing rapidly. In the last decades, the industry has even reached a value of US$ 2 billion. This industry utilizes kaolin (particularly white kaolin) in production because it is the more affordable alternative to titanium dioxide with added benefits.
3. Pesticide Industry
The value of the pesticide industry in India from 2022 to 2026 is predicted to reach US$ 485.94 million. Due to this growth, demand for kaolin in India also increases. Kaolin is used as an alternative to the conventional pesticide because it does not degenerate the soil health.
Those industries (and other kaolin-reliant industries) in India use the following types of industrial kaolin:
Local Production of Kaolin
Due to the increasing need for kaolin in the country, there is an effort to increase local production. In 2018, an analysis showed that the country has a kaolin reserve of 2,941.24 million tons. Sixty-one percent of that calculated reserve (approximately 140 million tons) has been proven to exist, while the remaining reserve is still probable.
The kaolin reserves are spread throughout the country. Kerala, Rajasthan, and Bengal are known to be the largest local suppliers, with Kerala holding 23% of kaolin in this country. Other regions that hold kaolin reserves are Odisha and Karnataka. Private companies have also worked together to find more reserves.
However, the local production of kaolin in this country faces some challenges that may hinder its yield. Local miners (mostly in the southern part of India) cannot mine kaolin efficiently due to limited resources. Additionally, volatile climate conditions can prevent miners from conducting kaolin mining and processing activities.
There is also an issue related to the quality of kaolin that is produced locally. Based on data in 2016, less than 5% of kaolin produced in India was classified as high-value material. Most of them (73%) were classified as mixed-grade materials. Therefore, certain industries cannot benefit from local production and have to rely on exports.
The Future of Kaolin in India
Based on the previous details, it is safe to say that the kaolin industry in India has a promising future. Between 2021-2031, the industry is expected to experience a CAGR of 3.5%, and by the end of this decade, the industry’s value will reach US$ 137.8 million.
Nonetheless, some improvements can still be made to the production of kaolin in India. The government should support the use of technology to produce high-quality kaolin more efficiently (e.g., high-intensity magnetic separator). To fulfill national demand, it is suggested that the government works with foreign suppliers such as PT. Yudian Kawan Mineral from Indonesia